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Bike Find of the Day – 1959 Ducati Elite 200

1959 Ducati Elite 200 an Italian Classic

Before the iconic Italian firm released the Elite in 1958, the company’s largest displacement bike was a 175cc single cylinder model. As Ducati’s racing campaign proved highly successful, the company bored out the 175cc models to 204cc and it was this machine with the new motor which became the Elite.

It just so happens that the Elite 200 “won the hearts of bike-lovers world-wide with its combination of performance and pleasure.”

The Elite engine employed a single overhead cam with enclosed valve gear and all-alloy unit construction. The powerplant produced 18bhp at 7500rpm, and given it’s extremely light weight, the motor was capable of driving the machine out past 90mph when properly tuned. A different carb setup and a hot camshaft with a steep cam angle was available to hop the machine up further.

A single-tube open frame cradle made of steel held up with telescoping forks at the front and twin, three-way adjustable shocks on the swing arm at the back. The wheels were 18-inch in diameter and a 180mm drum brake up front and a 160mm drum at the rear brought it to a halt. A 28 and a half inch seat height gave the Elite 200 a low center of gravity and made it easy to ride.

The Elite 200 sent exhaust gases through a pair of stacked chrome mufflers on the right side. The bike featured a four-speed gearbox which only came into it’s own at cruising speed in top gear, but “pulled briskly” in the lower gears at the redline.

Back in the day, a brand new 204cc Ducati Elite sold for a little over $300, but you won’t find one at that price these days.

This one, restored in Italy, is already approaching $10,000 at auction and sure to climb higher.

You’re going to need to insure your new classic motorcycle, and there’s lots to consider when you do. We’re here to help…

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